Thrive in our connected world

Fast Facts: Information Overload 2013

More is always better, right? Some fast facts on information overload for your delight and delectation, or for those suffering from IFS (information fatigue syndrome), another nail in your info-coffin….

  • Definition:  When the volume of potentially useful and relevant information available exceeds processing capacity and becomes a hindrance rather than a help
  • 90% of all the data in the world has been generated over the last two years
  • Information consumption in the US is in the order of 3.6 zettabytes (3.6 million million gigabytes)
  • The average American consumes 34 gigabytes / 12 hours of information per day – outside of work
  • “Between the dawn of civilization through 2003 about 5 exabytes of information was created. Now, that much information created every 2 days” (Eric Schmidt – former Google CEO)
  • In the US, people who text send or receive an average of 35 texts per day
  • 28% of office workers time is spent dealing with emails
  • The typical Internet user is exposed to 1,707 banner ads per month
  • The human brain has a theoretical memory storage capacity of 2.5 petabytes (or a million gigabytes)
  • The maximum number of pieces of information a human brain can handle concurrently is 7 (Miller’s Law)
  • Information (over)load is linked to greater stress, and poorer health
  • Overuse of social media can lead to short-term memory loss
Written by
Dr Paul Marsden
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Digital wellbeing covers the latest scientific research on the impact of digital technology on human wellbeing. Curated by psychologist Dr. Paul Marsden (@marsattacks). Sponsored by WPP agency SYZYGY.